Monday, 12 October 2009

Hughes looks back

The manager has been using the international break to reflect on the first phase of the season:

"It’s a long old season, and it’s difficult to focus if you look at a block of 38 games. What you have to do is break them into more manageable sections, then you can focus for a certain amount of games. You can then take a look back, review and focus on the next bit.

"It’s easier to overcome a long season like that, and we do that as a matter of course. It's something I have always done that in all the jobs I have been in, and the Villa game was the end of our first phase. Our review of that has been very good, and what we have to do now is make sure is that the one ahead of us is as successful as the one we have just completed.

"We know what we are capable of, we’ve shown glimpses in games where we have been outstanding. But, I don’t think we have played for the full 90 minutes as yet. That’s exciting, because we know there is more to come."

Breaking the season down into blocks is not only good practice for managers, it's also pretty useful for bloggers too. And I have to agree with Hughes that phase one of the 2009/10 season has gone very well indeed. We haven't won every game, we haven't looked impenetrable at the back, and we haven't always played like Spain. But we are quite clearly a team transformed from last year - one with more bite and drive and spine than we have ever had before. (And the Stuart Pearce sides were not 'tough' or 'competitive' just because they played anti-football and kicked opponents. They folded when it mattered, like most City teams.)

The points at the Parks of Ewood, Selhurst, Fratton and Villa were all contingent on a newfound ethos of this City side, built on the solid foundations of Shay Given, Gareth Barry, Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Adebayor et al. And, we should not forget, the quality of football we produced at home against Arsenal and West Ham was itself beyond almost everything we saw last year or the year before. Not since Eyal Berkovic, Ali Benarbia and Shaun Wright-Phillips tore apart the First Division under Kevin Keegan have we been able to swarm over teams with quite as many threats as we now can.

This is only phase one, of course. We've got thirty-one EPL games left, plus five more in the League Cup if we're going to win that and then a minimum of six in the FA Cup too. But with what we've seen so far, we can be confident that we will win more of our remaining games than we will lose. The fact is that this season remains as promise-crammed as it was two months ago - and almost anything is still possible.

1 comment:

Elby the Beserk said...

Agreed 100%. But please - no ghastly "EPL". Premiership yes, EPL NO NO NO!